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Smoked turkey

jerrylnkne Nov 18, 2012 07:39 PM

I am going to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. The smoker manufacturer recipe, which is short on inspiration, suggests 10 - 12 hours for 15 -18 lbs. Recipes online suggest 4-1/2 to 5. To prepare this by working backwards in time, that is quite a time difference.

What do members if this community suggest?

On warm in Nebraska,


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  1. l
    lemons RE: jerrylnkne Nov 19, 2012 06:55 AM

    You may want to post this in the Home Cooking section. I thought you might be looking for a regional supplier of them, and was going to suggest Bergers Smokehouse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lemons
      jerrylnkne RE: lemons Nov 19, 2012 03:23 PM

      I will do that next time. At this time, I am getting help on the question. Thanks Lemons!

    2. Longing for Italy RE: jerrylnkne Nov 19, 2012 07:01 AM

      I just finished smoking a 7 lb. turkey breast--my recipes called for SLOW smoking (200-225 degrees) for an hour & quarter per pound. I smoked it for a little over 7 hours and it was perfect. The 4.5-5 might be OK for a "hot" cooking, but...........

      1 Reply
      1. re: Longing for Italy
        jerrylnkne RE: Longing for Italy Nov 19, 2012 03:26 PM

        When you say "hot" cooking, what temp are you thinking of? Is this above 250 degrees?

        Thank you for you reply.

      2. Phood RE: jerrylnkne Nov 19, 2012 07:03 AM

        Figure about 20 minutes per pound and use a thermometer to check the final reading.
        This has worked well for me.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phood
          jerrylnkne RE: Phood Nov 19, 2012 03:25 PM

          I appreciate the reply. Thanks Phood.

        2. f
          FriendOfTheDevil RE: jerrylnkne Nov 19, 2012 02:23 PM

          What piece of equipment are you smoking it on and what temp will you be using? Answering it without those two things is a wild guess at best.

          5 Replies
          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
            jerrylnkne RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 19, 2012 03:20 PM

            I am using a Brinkmann. The temp is between 225 and 250. It's hard to maintain a constant temp.

            1. re: jerrylnkne
              FriendOfTheDevil RE: jerrylnkne Nov 20, 2012 08:59 AM

              I hear ya. I used to have a Brinkmann. I assume you are talking a vertical water smoker?

              No way is your 4 1/2 to 5 going to do it. Your 10-12 is probably closer. Assuming you are talking a vertical water smoker.
              You need to monitor the bird temp. 20 minutes per pound is a time you get when you cook at 350 in a solid tight vessel. A Drafty Brinkmann at 225-250 is going to take much longer.
              One trick to crisp it up at the end is remove the water pan for a few minutes on each side. give you a nice brown skin.

              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                lemons RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 20, 2012 11:15 AM

                Trust this person. He well knows wwhereof he speaks.

                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                  jerrylnkne RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 21, 2012 04:50 AM

                  Thank you. This describes the Brinkmann perfectly. I will plan on the 10 - 12 hours.

                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                    jgg13 RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 21, 2012 02:38 PM

                    I had a 14.5# sans thighs (legs were present but disconnected) in my 18.5 wsm, temps were generally 250-280. Took 2.5 hours to get it to 148 (the temp I take my turkeys out)

              2. j
                jjjrfoodie RE: jerrylnkne Nov 20, 2012 11:49 AM

                The only downside of the Brinkmann is that likes to and was designed to sit around 250F and that you will not get crispy skin at that temp..

                And to quote Taylor Swift, "you're nover ever ever never gonna get crispy turkey skin at that temp. Like, ever." LOL..

                I just did 2 hens In my Brinkmann last week. Great chicken with great smoked taste. Floppy skin. As always.

                I pull the skin when carving or pulling and shove it under the broiler for smoked "cracklins," but , as stated abov,e throw the turkey under the broiler and it will crsip right up. Watch overcooking the bird tho.

                Sadly, 250F is just too low to make crispy skin work just on that smoker, That's where a Weber kettle and 325F does the perfect job.
                BTDT x 100.

                Remote probe thermometer.
                I also have built both a thermal blanket and top hat for my Brinkmann to help keep the temps up once the weather gets cold.
                Yes. I like it that much. :-)

                Good luck.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jjjrfoodie
                  jerrylnkne RE: jjjrfoodie Nov 21, 2012 04:55 AM

                  Thanks for your reply. I enjoy smoking ribs and other pork products on this smoker. This turkey experiment will test my caveman obsession with stoking fires. 10-12 hours is just a really
                  long time to pay attention so single-mindedly to one thing.

                  1. re: jerrylnkne
                    Uncle Bob RE: jerrylnkne Nov 21, 2012 05:41 AM

                    Since there are so many variables, why don't you dispense with the watch and use a thermometer? Turkeys can't tell time anyway!!! :))

                    Luck! ~~ Happy TG.

                    1. re: jerrylnkne
                      FriendOfTheDevil RE: jerrylnkne Nov 21, 2012 09:00 AM

                      If you ever get the urge, I highly recommend you upgrade to a Weber Smokey Mountain. Had mine since 96 or so and never looked back.

                      Thanks Lemons! ; )

                      Happy Thanksgiving!

                  2. f
                    FriendOfTheDevil RE: jerrylnkne Nov 21, 2012 09:06 AM

                    One other thing Jerry. Are you brining? You should. That actually will speed up your cooking some as well.


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                      Db Cooper RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 21, 2012 11:54 AM


                      This will be my third year of smoking the bird. I've got an 18-pound version this year.
                      I personally smoke mine for 3 hours between 225 and 250. I then transfer it to the oven and finish it off in there. After three hours, the bird can't take much more smoke on anyway so why not use the heat available via the oven to my advantage? I'll throw it in there at about 350 and let it finish. I figure in total, it will take around 5 hours since I'm cooking at such a lower temp for the first two.

                      A few other tips:
                      -Use fruit woods, not hickory or mesquite. Turkey doesn't do too well with those.
                      -Put your gravy stock beneath the turkey in the smoker if you can. It helps keep the bird moist AND you get smoked gravy too.

                      Good luck

                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                        jerrylnkne RE: FriendOfTheDevil Nov 21, 2012 02:26 PM

                        Good idea. Brine recipe - 2 c kosher salt, 1 c brown sugar, 3 T black peppercorns, 4 bay leaves, 14 c water. Cover turkey breast side down in a bag and place in fridge for 8 to 16 hours. This is a CH recipe, BTW.

                        1. re: jerrylnkne
                          FriendOfTheDevil RE: jerrylnkne Dec 4, 2012 09:05 AM

                          So how did it turn out?

                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil
                            jerrylnkne RE: FriendOfTheDevil Dec 7, 2012 08:22 PM

                            I apologize to the community for not providing a follow up. The turkey was a hit! I used apple wood chunks. Smoked for 4.5 hours at high heat to reach internal temp of 160. l let it rest for 20 mins while tending to other dishes.

                            Thank you all for your generous contributions.

                          2. re: jerrylnkne
                            MGZ RE: jerrylnkne Dec 4, 2012 09:35 AM

                            I have found that brining a turkey that is going to be smoked results in quite spongey flesh. A dry rub overnight is much, much better for that type of cook.

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